Electric "elephant" de-ices aircraft

The fleet of de-icing vehicles at Munich Airport has now received particularly powerful and environmentally friendly support: Since the beginning of the week, the all-electric "Elephant e-BETA" from the Danish manufacturer Vestergaard has been in use at EFM, the company for de-icing and aircraft towing at Munich Airport.

Elephant e-BETA ©Munich airport aerobernie
E-mobility on the rise at Munich Airport

According to the manufacturer, the "Elephant e-BETA" is the first electric de-icing vehicle. The spray arms and nozzles, which are driven by electric motors, perform the de-icing of aircraft silently and effectively. At the heart of the vehicle is a generously dimensioned lithium-ion battery power pack that enables the electric de-icing of around 10 to 15 aircraft. This allows the de-icing vehicle to complete about two to three hours of operation without needing to be recharged.

The vehicle still drives to the de-icing areas with a conventional diesel engine and can therefore be used flexibly, but at the site itself, the engine is switched off and the all-electric de-icing begins.

Elephants are known to have great endurance and a special sensitivity: not bad prerequisites for the Elephant e-BETA to achieve good results in the handling of sensitive aircraft in the test phase now underway.

Compared with conventional de-icing vehicles, the electric version can avoid up to 87 percent of the CO2 emissions caused by the vehicle. The electric de-icing vehicle thus fits in perfectly with Munich Airport's climate strategy, which envisages the airport operating in a CO2-neutral manner by 2030 at the latest.

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